Lessons

by Susanna Lang

     who would believe them winged
               in memoriam Lucille Clifton

Today your crows are nearly
speechless.

Only one bird calls from the other side
of the river,

naming the bareness of the branches,
their upstretched grace.

You taught us to listen to crows
and foxes,

taught us to do the work that Adam did
in the garden.

When we did not find the right names
despite your lessons

you leaned across the table, saying
You know I love you, don’t you?

We will be more precise in our naming.
It is all we can do

when you are no longer here in the winter garden,
showing us how to do the work.